September 28, 2005

The Passenger

Time to pass the word to my man Iggy.

Oh, the passenger
How, how he rides
Oh, the passenger
He rides and he rides
He looks through his window
What does he see?
He sees the sign and hollow sky
He sees the stars come out tonight
He sees the city's ripped backsides
He sees the winding ocean drive
And everything was made for you and me
All of it was made for you and me'
Cause it just belongs to you and me
So let's take a ride and see what's mine
Singing la la la la.. lala la la [x3]

Oh the passenger
He rides and he rides
He sees things from under glass
He looks through his window side
He sees the things that he knows are his
He sees the bright and hollow sky
He sees the city sleep at night
He sees the stars are out tonight
And all of it is yours and mine
And all of it is yours and mine
So let's ride and ride and ride and ride
Oh, oh, Singing la la la la lalalala

September 27, 2005

In the zone

Standing on the bare ground, a mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.

The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.
From the Tao Te Ching

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise.
Seek what they sought.

A monk once asked Yun-men, 'What teaching goes beyond the buddhas and patriarchs?' Yun-men said, 'Sesame cake.'
Do you feel your hairs standing on end?

September 25, 2005

Attempts at English

One of the perks of living over here is hearing and seeing lots of great attempts at English. (And it's all in good fun because I have done more than my fair share of damage to Swedish and Danish.) A sampling from last week's emails:

For the travel and accomodation the Academic Service will provide.

Maybe I should take a chat with Stan some time soon.

Anyway, contact me if you will have any problems.

More cowbell.

I'm one of those people who likes to understand things & its easy enough to understand some bands' names, like The Rolling Stones, The Replacements or The Pretenders. Some names are classics that catch in your mind, The Velvet Underground, The Psychadelic Furs, The White Stripes, The Stooges. But. Despite untold hours spent thinking about this and related questions I cannot for the life of me understand the following names:

Blue Öyster Cult
System of a Down

Please send help.

September 22, 2005

Magnetic chalkboard

I have been renovating the entry hallway of our house weekends and evenings, and at long last everything is finished: drywall, spackle, paint, wallpaper, trim, ceiling lamp, shelves, coat rack. The final touch was putting up a notice board, pictured here. It is made from MDF board covered with three layers of magnetic paint and two of blackboard paint.

Confession of a climate criminal

'Next week I am going to turn myself in. I have been on the run for years, flying in the face of reason, but it is just too exhausting. The charges against me include crimes against the planet and two counts of theft. But if I go down for this the medical profession is coming with me. They are saying I am a climate criminal and that for the past five years I have consumed unsustainably large amounts of air travel, pumping into the atmosphere tonnes of carbon dioxide that will continue to warm the planet for more than a century. In the past year I have flown to conferences in Auckland, Tokyo, Milan, and Rome. The charges are serious. According to a report by the World Health Organization my actions have contributed to the deaths of some 150 000 people, mostly in developing countries. What is worse, they have found out that all this air travel was paid for by the public. '

Read the rest of the letter HERE.

September 20, 2005


I have been writing a blog on kindness in my head for the last few days and could never get it to solidify. This peom by San Antonio poet Naomi Shihab Nye says what I wanted to say and more. (This is the second peom of hers on Long Burn...)

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread, only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

September 15, 2005

Call me Florio

I have decided to establish an exclusive lounge in order to relax after work. Exclusive because only a certain type will be granted entrance:

Fabio for a start,
two Nobel Prize winners, Dario and Mario, will be sitting at the piano bar.
Music will be provided by the opposing poles of Julio and Dio.
The bouncer will be that guy Furio from The Sopranos.

September 14, 2005

Changing season

Today the low pressure system that was born off the Atlantic coast and became known as Hurricane Maria will reach the Scandinavian peninsula. It bears gifts of wind and rain, but thank heavens is no longer a hurricane (unlike Gudrun that hit us last winter). Instead this storm will mark the change of season together with blowing leaves, harvest moon and fall smells.

Anders was cranky this morning, wanting to get into the bathroom and then out of the bathroom and then in again, and then when we were trying to feed him breakfast. Nothing was good enough-- if Mom was holding him he wanted Dad, and vice versa. I left the house a split second later than usual and biked to the station against the wind. Got there in time to see people getting off my train, the absolute worst time to arrive because there is still hope. I threw my bike in the rack and ran for the platform, upstream through people, and arrived out of breath in time to see the doors close and the train glide away. Waited 15 minutes for the next one, a local train that stops at every door between Lund and Malmoe, and here I am in Malmoe, top of the day, time to stop blogging and start working. Amazingly I have no meetings or classes today so I can focus on some of the big jobs connected to the new lab we are building.

Give the gift of forgiveness

Some time ago my sister asked me, 'Is there anyone that you need to forgive?' And it was one of those questions that you can't answer right away. It has stuck with me. My father told me once about a question he was asked by an examination board at seminary, 'Do you owe anybody anything?' He said no, he didn't have any debts, but the question stuck in his mind, I know because I first heard about it 40 years later. So here I am, five years (?) after my sister asked me her question, which surely was asked in another context for a reason I can't remember or never understood. I was wondering, what does it mean to forgive? After a few minutes on the internet I learned that there are some common myths about forgiving, including the following:

1. To forgive, we have to forget the offending behavior.
Forgetting is not part of forgiving. With forgiveness, we let go of the past in order to reclaim the present, be we do not forget that past.

2. To forgive is to excuse the offending behavior.
Forgiveness does not in any way excuse or condone the inappropriate actions that created our regret. We forgive for one main reason: to be free of the negative emotions associated with that regret, which is quite different from condoning the offense.

3. To forgive, we have to reconcile with the offender.
To reconcile with someone is to reestablish a relationship with that person. Reconciliation can be part of forgiveness, but only if we choose to make it so.

4. We should only forgive if the other person deserves it.
We forgive others because we deserve it, because we deserve to be free of the regret and the pain it has caused us. Whether the person who hurt us deserves our forgiveness has nothing to do with our decision to grant it.

Looking at Wikipedia,
Forgiveness is a choice the forgiver makes to let go of resentment held in the forgiver's mind of a perceived wrong or difference, either actual or imagined. As the choice of forgiveness is made in the mind of the forgiver, it can be made about any resentment, whether toward another, oneself, a group, a situation or even one's God. Forgiveness of another can be granted with or without the other asking for forgiveness. Some believe the choice of forgiveness is only properly exercised if forgiveness is requested. Another view is that forgiveness is a gift the forgiver gives to oneself to free their mind of resentment. Forgiveness does not entail condoning the wrong or difference that occasioned the resentment. Forgiveness can be seen as a religious value. ..even pure pragmatism can lead to forgiveness, as it is well documented that people who forgive are happier than those who hold grudges.

As to my sister's question, you bet there are. If there's one thing I can do its carry a grudge. There's a whole slew of folks I should get busy forgiving.

(P.S. I'm just jabbering on about myself here-- you blogees, take things at your own pace. For me at least this forgiveness business seems to take decades, and really, what do I have to complain about? Honestly, not that much. Even so, the millstones in my mind won't stop grinding...)

September 13, 2005


A guy I work with was born in Poland and moved to Sweden when he was 5 years old, just a few months before the shipyard strikes in Gdansk 25 years ago. He grew up in Sweden, but his family would visit their relatives in Poland a couple of times a year. He has a lot of funny stories about life under the communist system. He said his relatives just loved to get plastic bags. You couldn't get them in Poland, and if you had one you kept it for years. People would tape up rips in their bag and carry things around in town. Also, it was impossible to get athletic shoes. Once a year the store in their town would sell cloth 'Adidas'.

September 08, 2005

Look where we've come in 100 years

From today's New York Times, a summary of the American response to the destruction of San Francisco almost 100 years ago:

THE last time a great American city was destroyed by a violent caprice of nature, the response was shockingly different from what we have seen in New Orleans.

Nobody in the "cool gray city of love," as the poet George Sterling called it, had the faintest inkling that anything might go wrong on the early morning of April 18, 1906. Then at 5:12 a.m. a giant granite hand rose from the California earth and tore through the city.

In the end, at least 3,000 were dead and 225,000 homeless. A stentorian Army general named Frederick Funston realized he was on his own - his superior officer was at a daughter's wedding in Chicago - and sent orders to the Presidio military base. Within two hours scores of soldiers were marching in to the city, platoons wheeling around the fires, each man with bayonet fixed and 20 rounds of ball issued; they presented themselves to Mayor Eugene Schmitz by 7:45 a.m. - just 153 minutes after the shaking began.

The first relief train, from Los Angeles, steamed into the Berkeley marshalling yards by 11 o'clock that night. The Navy and the Revenue Cutter Service, like the Army not waiting for orders from back East, ran fire boats and rescue ferries.

Washington learned of the calamity in the raw and unscripted form of Morse Code messages, with no need for the interpolations of anchormen or pollsters. Congress met in emergency session and quickly passed legislation to pay all imaginable bills. By 4:00 a.m. on April 19, William Taft, President Theodore Roosevelt's secretary of war, ordered rescue trains to begin pounding toward the Rockies; one of them, assembled in Virginia, was the longest hospital train ever assembled.

September 07, 2005

10 kinds of people

There are 10 kinds of people-- those who count in binary and those who won't.

Spread the light

From Rabbi Simon Jacobson:

Every generation that does not rebuild the Temple is considered as if it destroyed it.
If you are not busy being born, you are busy dying.
If you are not bringing light into this world you are contributing to its darkness.

Commanding autocrats may wield great power. But their control lasts only as long as their presence does. If you want to see real power look at the teacher that never makes commands or demands, but in his subtle way suggests. He teaches by inspiration and osmosis, rather than by fear and intimidation. He teaches you to rise on your own – to shine with your own brilliance, not just as an extension of his. And his influence lasts forever, because it’s not about his presence, but about his power to perpetuate.

September 06, 2005

He took of his clothes and started running towards Denmark

Here is an article from today's Sydsvenskan:

On Sunday morning a man stopped his car with Norwegian license plates on the ?resund bridge. He got out of his car, took off his clothes and started running towards Denmark. After a time he jumped from the bridge, 50 meters into the sound. He was observed by security cameras and taken into custody, unharmed. The man is described as being in his 40s, and was not carrying money or identification. The man was placed in custody of the immigration authorities awaiting deportation to Norway. One of the arresting officers said that lots of people enjoy swimming in the sound this time of year, but to do so after first paying a toll takes a Norwegian.

September 03, 2005

Chef Chlorophyll

Last night at dinner Fredrik told us what he had learned in school, about Chef Chlorophyll. Chef Chlorophyll's kitchen is inside of leaves. He mixes sunlight with carbon dioxide from the air and produces sugar and oxygen for us to breath. Isn't that a great story! Next year, in the third grade, he will learn about evolution. Teaching evolution is no big deal here, not even a little deal. Swedish schools are great. I gave Fredrik some maple syrup on his yoghurt this morning to reinforce the idea of sugar coming from trees. I told him that Chef Chlorophyll makes wood too.

September 01, 2005

New Orleans relief

American Red Cross
New Orleans relief fund:

Bearing a bear

These pictures were sent by Eric Holland, who is living in Alaska and responsible for social services for an area the size of Ohio. Makes me think of all those times out camping when we hoisted a pack containing our food and toothpaste and scrubbies into the treetops because of the bears...

Web Counter
Web Site Counter

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]